Kentucky coach John Calipari thought he had seen it all, then he received fan mail from a dog.
Calipari said Friday the letter arrived complete with a paw print ”signature.”
”You think about it, this is a unique place. I have dogs sending me letters and they put their paw prints on it and their picture,” Calipari said. ”I have 95-year-old ladies in nursing homes asking what I’m doing about our free throw shooting, do you practice it? I’ve got accountants cussing me up and down. It’s a different deal here.
”You can’t hide. I can’t hide. My players can’t hide.”
The coach of the top-ranked Wildcats said the canine correspondence ranks among the most unique things he’s ever received. But it was somewhat fitting as Kentucky’s defense has been pretty doggone good.
The Wildcats (20-1, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) rank first in the nation in field goal percentage defense at 36.2 percent, just ahead of Wisconsin, and have won all three of their conference road games so far after going 2-6 in league play away from Rupp Arena last season.
”We all feel kind of comfortable on the road,” Kentucky guard Darius Miller said. ”I think we’ve been doing good job as far as road games so far and hopefully we can continue on that path.”
Next up is a trip to LSU (12-8, 2-4) on Saturday, where Tigers coach Trent Johnson is impressed with the defense Kentucky is playing.
”One of the things John does well that I don’t think he gets enough credit for, forget how talented they are and forget about how talented the teams he had are, he gets a lot of guys that are really talented to play hard and guard,” Johnson said. ”I think this (Kentucky) team is special. Most guys have a sense of entitlement, but they come after you now. There is some talent there.”
Enough that even dogs have noticed. The four-legged letter included a photo of a cocker spaniel named Mr. Maverick watching Kentucky play with its paws on a TV stand.
”There is an area of fandom you have failed to mention since arriving in the Bluegrass and that’s fans like me,” according to the letter posted on the coach’s website. ”Where in the world do you find dogs rooting for Cats? Let me answer that for you, ‘Kentucky.”’
Calipari joked when asked about the contents of the letter, barking at reporters before leaving the podium.